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Wrath Beta patch notes: Priest

My main is a Priest. A Shadow Priest, to be precise. While I started out Holy, my Priest has always been my main and probably always will be. The only thing that could possibly draw me away is my Protection Paladin, should my raid ever need another. Obviously, the very first thing I looked at in the Wrath Beta patch notes were the Priest notes. I've talked about what we saw in Alpha, and I was cautiously optimistic at the time. After seeing these notes... well... yeah, I'm still optimistic. I am (dare I say it?)... excited, even!

I'll tuck my analysis behind the cut, but here are my three favorite notes out of the Priest notes:
  • New Talent: Improved Spirit Tap (Shadow) - Gives you a 50/100% chance to gain a 50% bonus to your Spirit after gaining a critical effect chance from your Mind Blast or Shadow Word: Death spells. For the duration, your mana will regenreate at a 25% rate while casting. Lasts 8 sec.
  • Lightwell (Holy): Cast time reduced to .5 sec, down from 1.5 sec. Charges increased to 10, up from 5. Now breaks from any attack that hits you for 30% or more of your total health. Cooldown reduced to 3 minutes, down from 5.
  • Shadowform (Shadow): Now has an innate 30% threat reduction. Now has a shapeshift UI.

Here's a refresher on the full Priest notes before I continue:
  • Circle of Healing (Holy): Now works on any targets in the caster's raid, and is now a "smart" heal and chooses the lowest health targets to heal first within it's range. Also now has a 6 second cooldown. Also no longer will heal summoned Snakes from Hunter's Snake Trap.
  • Enlightenment (Discipline): Now also gives 1% spell damage and 1% heal per point.
  • Focused Will (Discipline): Now increases healing effects on you by 3/4/5%, down from 4/7/10%.
  • Force of Will (Discipline): This talent now increases your spell damage by a flat amount, rather than increasing your spells by a %. (Now increases school %, rather than selected spells damage %). In other words, your spell damage gained from this talent is now reflected on your character sheet, rather than the skill tool-tips.
  • Holy Fire: Cast time reduced to to 2 seconds, down from 3.5. Damage increased roughly 60%. Duration for the damage over time effect reduced to 7 seconds, down from 10. Holy Fire now has a 10 second cooldown.
  • Improved Inner Fire (Discipline) - Now also increases the bonus healing on your Inner Fire spell by 10/20/30%.
  • Improved Shadow Word: Pain (Shadow) - Now increases damage done by your Shadow Word: Pain by 5/10%, but no longer increases the duration of your Shadow Word: Pain.
  • Levitate now costs 3% of base mana.
  • Lightwell (Holy): Cast time reduced to .5 sec, down from 1.5 sec. Charges increased to 10, up from 5. Now breaks from any attack that hits you for 30% or more of your total health. Cooldown reduced to 3 minutes, down from 5.
  • Mind Control now has only one rank and costs 12% of base mana.
  • Mind Soothe now has only one rank, costs 6% of base mana and has no max target level.
  • Mind Vision now costs 3% of base mana.
  • New Talent: Improved Spirit Tap (Shadow) - Gives you a 50/100% chance to gain a 50% bonus to your Spirit after gaining a critical effect chance from your Mind Blast or Shadow Word: Death spells. For the duration, your mana will regenreate at a 25% rate while casting. Lasts 8 sec.
  • New Talent: Twin Faiths (Discipline) - Increases your damage and healing by 1/2/3/4/5%.
  • Pain Suppression (Discipline): Cooldown increased to 3 minutes, up from 2.
  • Power Infusion (Discipline): Cooldown reduced to 2 minutes, down from 3.
  • Psychic Scream now costs 15% of base mana.
  • Searing Light (Holy): Now also increases the damage of your Holy Nova and Penance spells.
  • Shackle Undead now costs 9% of base mana.
  • Shadow Focus (Shadow): Now a 3 point talent, down from 5. Now also reduces the mana cost of your Shadow spells by 2/4/6%.
  • Shadow Resilience (Shadow): Now reduces physical damage taken by 2/4%, but no longer reduces the chance to be critically hit by spells.
  • Shadowform (Shadow): Now has an innate 30% threat reduction. Now has a shapeshift UI.
  • Silent Resolve (Discipline): Now a 3 point talent, down from 5 points.
  • Spirit Tap (Shadow) - Talent reduced to 3 points, down from 5. Now also leads into "Improved Spirit Tap"
  • Wand Specialization (Discipline) has been removed.
Now, as I said, I'm a Shadow Priest. I know how to Holy and know how the mechanics work, but my experience and application of those things are limited, so perhaps our buddy Matticus will chime in for us later today. Matt's a wild man with a wild plan though, so maybe he won't! We'll see.

Discipline has some new spells and toys such as Penance to play with, but those aren't in these notes, so eh! The things I notice most are Inner Fire, and the cooldown changes to Power Infusion and Pain Suppression.

Discipline in the current game serves two purposes: It is the PvP spec, and the talent tree that has the most synergy with Holy. Inner Fire, it seems, will be adding +Healing when it is active. Whether this is a flat number or a percentage, I won't know until I get my hands on the Beta client, but it's a nice bonus either way. I would actually like to see this become Spellpower (both Damage and Healing) since it is something all Priests use, but that might be my inner Shadow Priest talking. I'll need to see Wrath in action to know if Shadow Priests need it or not, but it's definitely a good thing for Holy and Discipline. You should have Inner Fire up 100% of the time anyway, so this just makes it better.

Discipline also has the reputation of being absolutely ridiculously stupidly hard to kill. Makes sense. They are! All other things aside, Discipline has absolutely positively insane survivability. So... Pain Suppression is getting nerfed. While that sucks, Power Infusion is getting buffed. A little survivability tradeoff for increase utility and synergy with your teammates. Or more Mana Burns from yourself, of course. Plus, this makes Discipline a little more viable in PvE as well. Pain Suppression shouldn't be needed as much, but more DPS is always, always useful. Being able to use Power Infusion once more in a boss fight is pretty sweet.

Holy gets one especially amusing change, but overall there is not a lot displayed here. Most of the changes seen in these patch notes are not actually indicative of what Holy Priests receive in Wrath. Remember, these patch notes are not the patch notes from 2.4.3 to the Wrath Beta. These patch notes are from the last Alpha build to the current Beta build, so don't fret that there isn't much here for Holy. We'll see comprehensive notes for each class coming in the next few days, I have no doubt. Penance is hardly mentioned here, for example. There is some stuff here, though.

Again, we see that Inner Fire will provide +Healing. Holy will get some added offensive capability, which will be nice for soloing. And now that I look at it more closely, the buff to Holy Fire is actually very good for Discipline Priests. As has been pointed out very often, Discipline plays as an offensive Healer in the arena. It isn't uncommon at all for the Priest to join their teammates in the focus fire and burst, so while the Holy Fire buff is good for Holy, it is also very good for Discipline. Ripping off a 1.5s nuke that isn't tiny will be fantastic.

The other big Holy thing I see is the buff to Lightwell. Lightwell, as long as it has existed, has been a joke. Occasionally useful, generally useless. Going from 5 charges to 10 is nice and all, but that isn't the good part. The fact that the healing effect will not break from attacks that hit for less than 30% of your health is, quite frankly, amazing. There are so many encounters that that change alone would be fantastic for in The Burning Crusade, and I imagine that will be the same in Wrath. Currently Lightwell sucks for two reasons: With all of that AOE damage, it doesn't actually get to heal you. The other reason is it depends on your teammates being intelligent and using it when they need to, and quite frankly that one is just unable to be fixed. Buff Humanity?

Shadow is... uh. Wow. Yeah. I'm impressed and excited. Between these patch notes and what we've seen previously, Shadow Priests will be in a good place. While we have a few nerfs (Vampiric Touch), we have so much more to compensate. Higher DPS, better efficiency from Imp. Spirit Tap and Mind Flay refreshing Shadow Word: Pain, an AOE, Shadowform provides 30% Threat Reduction and 100% Pushback Resistance, Mind Flay is rumored to be at a 30 yard range, Dispersion gives Shadow Priests the survival they need in the Arena... I hate the word 'stoked' but I am going to use it here, because I'm not sure how to describe how I feel any other way. I am stoked.

These patch notes don't reveal anything particularly new about Shadow Priests since the Alpha leaks, but it doesn't really need to do that at all. What's there already seems amazing. If you're interested in the nitty gritty, just read my Hybrid Theory about it. It's really fantastic stuff.

I'm sure there's more on the way, and you can be sure I'll have my eye on Priests (and Paladins) all through the Beta. Ladies and gents, are you excited as I am?

*All tooltips reflect what is currently in The Burning Crusade and not their state in the Wrath Beta.
Hungry for more Wrath of the Lich King Beta news? WoW Insider has a slew of articles for you now that the NDA has been lifted and the Beta forums open up to the public. Keep checking the site for more class analysis and insights to the changes.

Filed under: Priest, Analysis / Opinion, News items, Expansions, Wrath of the Lich King

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